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LinkedIn Almost Got Smart

By May 22, 2014No Comments

We’ve heard plenty of commentary recently about how LinkedIn are revolutionising the way companies recruit and their recent conference fueled those flames of perceived disruptive innovation even more. No doubt the Australasian Talent Conference currently happening in Sydney will pour more kerosene on those flames (probably along with declarations that Oculus Rift is replacing Google Glass as the wearable technology of choice for recruiting cyborgs).

Earlier this week I actually started to believe the hype myself. Having received a number of pointless and irrelevant “jobs you may be interested in” emails in the past (displaying unsuitable jobs that companies have paid large sums to get in front of my confused eyeballs), I received this list this week:

LinkedIn jobs

No less than three jobs in the wine industry, something I have developed a huge interest in over the years living in New Zealand (not to mention finding it provides the occasional slice of sanity during the past chaotic years raising two kids 13 months apart). Slightly embarrassed, but impressed nevertheless, I wondered what clever technology LinkedIn had developed to glean a sense of my interest in wine. Was it the inferences and comments made in previous content shared, postings on other social networks, or maybe even some kind of educated demographic assumption? Has the mix of my age, origins, education and work experience made me such a glaringly obvious candidate for middle class proclivities that an interest in wine can be so accurately assumed?  Had LinkedIn’s deal with “data savvy job search start up” finally resulted in some jaw-dropping big data smarts?

Actually, no. I’ll admit I was kind of deflated when I scrolled down to the bottom of my LinkedIn profile to find the “interests” section that I must have written years ago:

LI Interests

Must have been years ago because some of those things haven’t taken up too much of my “free” time for quite a while. Like reading aha ha *ahem*. And of course, there is the word “wine”, those four little letters congregated together into a small digital switch to activate the presentation of wine industry jobs in an email to me. Pffff, pretty basic then, after all. No clever algorithms or incomprehensible algebraic constructions. Just the word, wine.

Which reminded me that LinkedIn still have an annoyingly basic name searching box, too. I spent ages this week trying to track down someone I knew as Prue, a first degree connection no less, before finally typing in Prudence and up she popped.  Even more obvious name-variations are omitted from LinkedIn’s search results like “Mathew” with one “t” or “Allex” with two “l’s” – slightly less common but still surely worthy of display in search results, especially when they’re 1st Degree connections?

Anyone similarly frustrated and too impatient to wait for Google’s inevitable acquisition of LinkedIn one day to merge into their faltering Google+, here’s a free tip:  Check out – an excellent tool that uses Google’s search engine and turns your simple search parameters into fancy boolean strings and throws up more accurate results.

In the meanwhile, I’ll await LinkedIn’s next jobs list in my inbox, possibly including jobs at Arsenal.  I’d apply to the management position…if the vacancy should ever arise.

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.